America: The Lost Leader

Bettman/Corbis

WISE MEN: In the post-WW II world, President Harry S. Truman (in hat) and, from left, Special Assistant to the President Averell Harriman, Defense Secretary George C. Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson remade the global order by promoting multilateralism with American values

In the U.S. presidential election campaign, the speeches of the candidates on foreign policy have often turned on a single word, and a shared analysis. The word is "leadership," and the analysis is this. After World War II, the U.S. built an international system that protected those who signed up to its values, and that provided the means for contesting Soviet communism. Now, with the end of the Cold War, and in the messy world that has taken shape in its aftermath, it is time for America to show leadership again. In his set-piece speech on foreign policy in Chicago in...

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